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Made in His Image

It says in John’s Gospel that no one has ever seen God. When Jesus was born, His mother held Him in her arms, and for the first time in history, a human could see God’s face. What did Mary see? She saw herself, “He has my eyes. God has my smile.”  What did the shepherds see when they approached the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes? They saw themselves, another shepherd. What did the kings see that arrived from the east? They saw another king.

Remember when Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law? Did you notice Peter’s reaction to the mother-in-law’s recovery? That’s right; there was none.  No “thank you” or “how did you do that?” No proclamations such as “truly you are the “Son of God.” Nothing. A few verses later, Jesus is preaching in Peter’s boat. When Jesus finished, he told Peter to go to the deep for a catch. They caught so many fish that they nearly sank two boats. Do you remember Peter’s reaction? He knelt before the Lord as if He was the living God and said to Him, “Depart from me; I am a sinner.” Why does he react now? He sees God at that moment, and he is one of them, a fisherman.

Our parish was on the rotation to go to the homeless shelter once a month to provide dinner.  Our specialty was Shepherd’s Pie. We stood behind a long table at the shelter and set up the main course, salad, bread, and cans of soda. As the homeless passed by on the other side of the table, we would dish out the food. I always had a good feeling inside after we served.  Then…

One day after Mass, I was greeting the people just before Christmas. A gentleman handed me a wad of cash and told me to use it to help the poor. I gave the money to the Little Brothers of St. Francis because they minister to the homeless on the street. Two weeks later, they sent me a thank you card. On the front of the card was a picture entitled “The Little Brother’s Thanksgiving Meal.” There was a large table with lots of food. The little brothers were seated around the table, and a homeless person was between them. They had their arms around each other’s shoulders. I couldn’t take my eyes off the picture. I was studying their faces. One of the homeless men looked so happy, and he was laughing out loud. The second homeless man had a presidential face with his head erect as if he was the most important man in the world because he was invited to dine with holy men. Another homeless man in the picture had his eyes on the food as if he hadn’t eaten in days. There was a difference between the brothers of St. Francis and me. I served food to homeless people, but the ones in the picture were not homeless – not that day. Today they were part of the family.

            Every one of us can look at Christ and say, He is one of us. God does that because we know that we are part of the family. God appears to look like us so he can say to all, “You are one of us.” 

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